EDITOR’S NOTE: Barack Obama’s involvement in the DeMar Second Amendment case previously was reported in Chapter 9 of Jerome R. Corsi’s “The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality.”
NEW YORK – Despite campaign statements calculated to make Barack Obama sound sympathetic to the Constitution’s Second Amendment, his history reveals another attitude.
Critics of Obama say he simply hates guns.
Obama’s long-term antipathy to the Second Amendment is evidenced by a case that came up when Obama was an Illinois state senator and Obama worked to prosecute criminally a man who stopped a home-invasion burglary that happened while his children were asleep in their beds.
But he used an improperly registered handgun.
The home invasion case
The case involved Hale DeMar, a 52-year-old Wilmette resident who was arrested and charged with misdemeanor violations for shooting a burglar who broke into his home not once, but twice. DeMar shot the invader in the shoulder and leg.
DeMar was well-known in Chicago as the owner the Oak Tree Restaurant on the Magnificant Mile along Michigan Avenue, and legally had purchased the gun in the 1980s from Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale.
On Dec. 28, 2003, DeMar woke up in the middle of the night to find his home had been invaded by a criminal who stole various household items including a television, a ring of keys and DeMar’s BMW SUV.
The next night the thief returned and used DeMar’s keys to get back into the house. This time, the thief set off the alarm system, automatically notifying the security company.
Concerned his children were in danger, DeMar got his handgun from the safe where he kept it and shot the thief, who then fled the house by crashing through the front window to escape.
The burglar, a 31-year-old with a criminal record, then drove DeMar’s SUV to the hospital, where he was arrested.
Arrested for self-defense
On Jan. 8, 2004, Wilmette Police Chief George Carpenter arrested DeMar for violating the town’s handgun ban, which took effect in 1989.
“Wilmette homes are much safer without a handgun,” Carpenter told the Chicago Sun-Times, defending his decision to enforce the North Shore suburb’s local ordinance.
Additionally, Carpenter charged DeMar with failing to renew his Illinois firearm owner’s identification card, which had expired in 1988. DeMar faced some hefty fines and possibly even some jail time under the violations.
A few days later, appearing before the Wilmette Village Board to defend why he arrested DeMar under the town’s handgun ban, Carpenter explained, “Handguns create a hazard in the home.”
Against a background of booing from local residents attending the packed village board meeting, Carpenter argued his case. “My experience is that handguns are more likely to be used or threatened to be used in quarrel or domestic situations or in suicide attempts,” he explained.
Town residents testifying disagreed, describing gun ownership as “a God-given right” and “the most sacred civil right.” According to a Chicago Sun-Times reporter present at the hearing, at one point a man in the audience stood up and yelled, “Give me liberty or give me death!” echoing Patrick Henry’s famous line.
“Until you are shocked by a piercing alarm in the middle of the night and met in your kitchen by a masked invader as your children shudder in their beds, until you confront that very real nightmare, please don’t suggest that some village trustee knows better,” De Mar said in his own self-defense.
“If my actions have spared only one family from the distress and trauma that this habitual criminal has caused hundreds of others, then I have served my civic duty and taken one evil creature off our streets, something that our impotent criminal justice system had failed to do, despite some thirty odd arrests, plea bargains and suspended sentences.”
In February 2004, Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against DeMar, thinking better about facing the public outcry that had developed throughout the state over the case.
Obama pursues case
But that wasn’t the end, and soon Obama was in action.
In March 2004, the Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2165, a law introduced in response to DeMar’s case, with provisions designed to assert a right of citizens to protect themselves against home invasions, such that self-defense requirements would be viewed to take precedence over local ordinances against handgun possession.
The measure passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 38-20.
Obama was one of the 20 state senators voting against the measure.
After passing the Illinois House by an overwhelming majority of 86-25, the measure went to the desk of the now-imprisoned Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who vetoed it.
On Nov. 9, 2004, the Illinois Senate voted 40-18 to override Blagojevich’s veto.
Again, Obama acted against the bill, voting with the 18 that wanted to sustain the governor’s veto.
On Nov. 17, 2004, the Illinois House voted overwhelmingly, 85-30, to override the governor’s veto and Senate Bill 2165 became law.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the override vote in the Illinois legislature demonstrated that, “Legislatures are responding – albeit with very small steps in Illinois – to constituents who demand that their right of self-defense be held sacrosanct.”
Obama was one of the few state senators who did not get the point.
The Joyce Foundation
Kenneth Vogel, writing in Politico.com, pointed out that before Obama became a national political figure, he sat on the board of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation that gave out at least nine grants totaling $2.7 million to groups advocating gun-control measures.
Among the Joyce Foundation grants approved while Obama was on the board was $20,000 in funding to a group called the Violence Policy Center that used the money to publish a book entitled “Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.”
Josh Sugarmann, the director of the Violence Policy Center and the author of the book, wrote in the book’s introduction, “A single consumer product holds our nation hostage: the handgun.”
For his eight years with the Joyce Foundation, Obama was paid more than $70,000 in director’s fees, according to Vogel’s article in Politico.com.